The 2008 version of Prom Night, starring Brittany Snow and Johnathon Schaech, may be the best horror movie you never saw

Prom Night (2008) Revisited – Horror Movie Review


It’s prom evening 2008 and Donna Keppel is arranging to put on a champagne-colored dress. Corseted, with pink and gold beads. Unfortunately, it may possibly also get splattered with blood and tears, since the teacher who’s obsessed with her has broken out of the mental hospital, tracked her down to the prom venue, and is prepared to make confident she’ll be his forever. Even if that signifies obtaining to slaughter her close friends initial. That’s the story of the 2008 version of Prom Night (watch it Right here) – and if you haven’t noticed this 1, it may possibly be the Best Horror Movie You Never Saw.

The Prom Night franchise started with the release of a 1980 slasher film which starred scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis as a young lady who has to deal with a ski mask-wearing maniac crashing her prom. People are stabbed and hacked, knocked off a cliff, decapitated, throats are slit, and there’s a show-stopping disco dance to a song that tells us all the things is alright on prom evening. Just like Halloween, this was a Jamie Lee Curtis slasher that became well-liked adequate to launch a franchise. But Prom Night told a contained story – so the filmmakers took an anthology method to the 3 sequels that followed. Each has connections to Hamilton High School, but their stories have absolutely nothing to do with what Curtis’s character went by means of. The most well-liked of the sequels was Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night 2… which was created as an original story known as The Haunting of Hamilton High just before obtaining the Prom Night 2 title dropped on it. Its story of the vengeful spirit of a lengthy-dead prom queen, Mary Lou Maloney, went more than so nicely, Prom Night 3: The Last Kiss was a direct adhere to-up. Then the Mary Lou story was ditched for Prom Night 4: Deliver Us from Evil, which was about an insane Catholic priest wiping out sinful teenagers.

The franchise sat dormant for more than a decade… Until October of 2004, when Screen Gems announced they have been moving forward with a new Prom Night. This was just two months following they announced their remake of When a Stranger Calls, which we covered in a prior episode. At that time, the Prom Night reboot had Stephen Susco attached to create, fresh off writing The Grudge, the English-language remake of the Japanese film Ju-on. But Susco was promptly replaced on the project by J.S. Cardone, who may possibly not have been the most apparent selection to create a story about teenagers, due to the fact he was about sixty years old. But he did have genre expertise, obtaining written and directed the 1982 slasher The Slayer. He also contributed to some Full Moon productions, like Puppet Master, wrote and directed the vampire film The Forsaken, and was collaborating with Screen Gems on the supernatural Renny Harlin film The Covenant. So he knew how this stuff worked.

Although Cardone was also a director, he didn’t take the directing gig on this 1. Instead, the job went to prolific Television director Nelson McCormick. And the studio gave the writer and director a hurdle to clear: it was a mandate from the start off that the completed film had to get a PG-13 rating. How do you reboot an R-rated slasher as a PG-13 film? For Cardone, the answer was to method it like it wasn’t a slasher. As he told Fangoria magazine, “What we’re trying to do with this is to go back to the thrillers from the ‘70s that were youth-oriented but more character-driven. My influences in writing this were films like Klute, the original When a Stranger Calls, and Wait Until Dark. The killings in this movie really jump out at you, like in Wait Until Dark, and we wanted an antagonist who was not a slasher or a monster.”

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Prom Night Best Horror Movie You Never Saw

That antagonist is higher college biology teacher Richard Fenton, who becomes obsessed with 1 his students, Donna Keppel. At the start off of the film, Donna comes household to obtain that Richard is in her property. He has currently killed her dad and her small brother. Then he kills her mom appropriate in front of her. He’s caught by the police and sent to a mental institution… but 3 years later, he escapes. And goes following Donna once more, on prom evening. This film distances itself from the other films in the franchise by the reality that its characters are not Hamilton High students. Instead, they attend Bridgeport High. But the prom is not getting held at the college anyway. The venue is a big hotel – and the filmmakers wanted to go way more than-the-top rated with how huge this celebration is. They wanted it to be a dream prom that could only exist in a Hollywood production. So they consist of a line exactly where it is mentioned that a wealthy girl on the prom committee went 1 hundred thousand dollars more than price range and her dad had to spend for it out of his personal pocket.

During the prom, Richard keeps an eye on Donna, creating up to the moment when he plans to sweep her off her feet and carry her off to their happily ever following. In the meantime, he murders any of her close friends that may possibly stand in his way and also kills off some of the hotel employees when they have anything he requirements, like a master essential card, or if they get suspicious of him. While Donna parties and Richard stalks and slashes, detectives named Winn and Nash lead the search for the escaped murderer.

Cardone and McCormick saw Richard as a Ted Bundy variety. Someone who could be outwardly charming, but that is just a facade hiding the reality that they’re a homicidal madman. So when Johnathon Schaech was cast as Richard Fenton, he did his analysis by reading books about Bundy and also watching a bunch of thrillers. The part of Donna Keppel went to Brittany Snow – who had a lead part on the Television show American Dreams, but this was her initial possibility to be the lead in a function film. Snow was enthusiastic about the project since she was a fan of horror films and thrillers and since she was provided the chance to have a extra hands-on part in the filmmaking approach. Her opinion was taken into account in quite a few locations, from script concepts to casting and music possibilities. The soundtrack she had a say in capabilities songs by Silversun Pickups, Plain White T’s, Tokio Hotel, This Will Destroy You, and Rock Kills Kid, amongst other people. Starting with a cover of “Time of the Season” by Ben Taylor, who was on quite a few episodes of American Dreams.

Snow’s co-stars consist of Scott Porter as Donna’s boyfriend Bobby, Jessica Stroup and Dana Davis as her close friends Claire and Lisa, Collins Pennie and Kelly Blatz as their boyfriends Ronnie and Michael, Brianne Davis as wealthy girl Crissy, who is obsessed with becoming prom queen, Kellan Lutz as her boyfriend Rick, Mary Mara as teacher Mrs. Waters, and Jessalyn Gilsig and Linden Ashby as Donna’s aunt and uncle, who take her in following the murder of her parents. James Ransone, who would go on to seem in It Chapter Two, The Black Phone, and the Sinister films, got his horror profession began by playing Detective Nash. Joshua Leonard of The Blair Witch Project shows up briefly as an ill-fated bellhop. Ming-Na Wen has a scene as Donna’s therapist. And playing Detective Winn, this movie’s version of Donald Pleasence’s Loomis character from the Halloween films, is Idris Elba. He got a song on the soundtrack, as well. Elba is also identified as Mr. Me Innit and contributed the hip-hop track known as “All That We Know.”

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Prom Night remake Best Horror Movie You Never Saw

The film begins with a sequence that was shot in Newport, Oregon, but most of the filming took location in Los Angeles. The majority of the operating time is set inside the Pacific Grand Hotel, and two diverse hotels have been utilised to bring this fictional place to the screen. Fittingly, McCormick drew some inspiration from The Shining when it came to the set style. And when it was time for Paul Haslinger of Tangerine Dream to compose the score, McCormick wanted him to adhere to the instance of High Tension. He didn’t want there to be as well substantially music. Just adequate to foreshadow or telegraph what was going to occur. Sudden, productive sounds.

This Prom Night was made on a price range of twenty million. And it created that back on opening weekend, when it opened at quantity 1 with a haul of twenty-point-eight million. It would go on to pull in a worldwide total of about fifty-seven million. A quite very good quantity. It wasn’t adequate to get Screen Gems to greenlight a sequel… but this seems to be a uncommon case exactly where the filmmakers weren’t pondering franchise. This was noticed as a 1-and-carried out deal with a definitive ending. Screen Gems was content adequate with the outcome that they sent the group of Cardone and McCormick appropriate back to perform on a different update of an ‘80s classic. Their remake of The Stepfather reached theatres the following year.

Given that this was the fifth Prom Night film, it is a shame that the series hasn’t continued in some way. We need to have gotten 1 or two extra of these, at least, in the years due to the fact this film was released. But it is understandable that no 1 else has wanted to touch the franchise due to the fact then. To say that Prom Night 2008 was not warmly received would be an understatement. According to Rotten Tomatoes, only nine % of the critic testimonials have been optimistic. The audience score wasn’t substantially superior, coming in at just thirty-eight % optimistic.

A lot of horror fans have been place off by that studio-mandated rating. When MovieWeb asked Brittany Snow if she believed horror fans may possibly be let down by a PG-13 version of Prom Night, she mentioned, “The misconception is that everyone thinks it’s a remake. It’s not, so I hope people don’t get disappointed going in thinking they’re going to see the same sort of storyline as the original. It’s just the same name. This is a totally different take on what the whole Prom Night story is. It has veered off into being more of a psychological cat and mouse game, diving into the anticipation factor. Feeling for the characters and being scared for them.” Still, it was marketed as a remake, causing it to be straight compared to the original film. And fans just weren’t on board with seeing Prom Night get watered down for a PG-13 rating.

The film does pale in comparison to the original… but when you take into account the 3 sequels that came in involving the films, it begins to appear a lot superior. If this had basically been sold as a different sequel, it in all probability would have been met with extra positivity. Because even although the filmmakers distanced themselves from the notion of it getting a slasher, describing it as a psychological thriller… it is basically a quite very good slasher film. Sure, we do not see as substantially of the kills as we need to have. The film would have benefited from an R rating that would have permitted us to see some gore. Richard Fenton does a entire lot of stabbing individuals and slitting throats, but we only see some blood and plunging blades. If they had Tom Savini level FX perform in right here, it would have a lot extra fans. But even although the kills are not as satisfying as they could have been, there’s a respectable physique count. There could have been extra kills – there are characters who slip by means of unscathed right here but would have been knocked off in most other films, but it has a very good quantity of murder and mayhem nonetheless. By the time we attain the finish credits, Richard’s victim count is in the double digits. So there are a lot of death scenes to hold items intriguing.

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Prom Night Best Horror Movie You Never Saw

The most elaborate chase sequences are generally reserved for the final girl, but in this case, the honor goes to Lisa. Richard chases her to a floor of the hotel that is undergoing renovations. And for a couple of minutes, he stalks her by means of the empty rooms, browsing for her amongst the exposed beams and hanging plastic. At 1 point, Ronnie arrives on the elevator and calls out for Lisa… but she can not respond, since Richard is standing appropriate beside her with his knife. It’s a fantastic suspense sequence.

Between the kills, there’s some decent character perform. Donna has a powerful help technique about her. Claire and Lisa are provided their personal side plots to deal with, but it is also clear that they care about Donna and what she’s going by means of. The characters have deeper friendships and tighter bonds than we normally see in films like this. Bobby is also 1 of the finest and most supportive boyfriends ever noticed in a horror film, which tends to make the viewer extra concerned for him. He’s so good, he’s in all probability going to die. Brittany Snow was a fantastic selection for the heroine part. And Johnathon Schaech delivers a creepy functionality as the homicidal man who’s following her heart.

The Prom Night remake or reboot or just a different Prom Night movie… what ever you want to contact it… is not an overlooked classic, but if you set aside any expectations primarily based on prior entries in the franchise, it does make for an entertaining viewing expertise. It’s a entertaining thriller with some good character perform and quite a few slashings. Then it all wraps up in just eighty-nine minutes. So, no extra feeling uptight. This prom evening, adhere to Donna Keppel and Richard Fenton to the Pacific Grand Hotel. You will not see any disco dancing, but all the things is nonetheless alright.

A couple prior episodes of the Best Horror Movie You Never Saw series can be noticed under. To see extra, and to verify out some of our other shows, head more than to the JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channel – and subscribe though you are there!

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